The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself of the chains that shackle the spirit. —Igor Stravinsky
The fewer limitations the artist imposes on his work, the less chance he has for artistic success. —Alexander Solzhenitsyn
Limit gives form to the limitless. —Pythagoras
The problem about art is not finding more freedom, it’s about finding obstacles. —Richard Rogers
Liberating power of constraint. —P.D. James
Without firm limits there is no play. —Rem Koolhaas
In my workshops I like to give “assignments,” or a set of parameters for each project. Rules to follow. A few restrictions….
Ironically, complete freedom is stifling. Limitations allow you to create more freely within the confines of the parameters. Rules provide freedom.
My “rules” for this little acrylic-sketch-practice-series are:
- Use existing wood only… kind of dirty and imperfectly cut… this has the effect of removing any pressure I would feel if I were using perfectly cut and sanded wood or pristine canvas.
- Five minutes tops for each one.
Here are some more acrylic sketch paintings from yesterday:
Steve liked this one…
I’ve found it so helpful to give myself restrictions like this to keep myself from taking my painting too seriously, especially in the beginning when I’m trying to learn a new technique or work with a new medium (in this case, acrylic paint). I hope you’ll try it!
What are “Assignments”? They are mini tutorials of drawing (and now painting) exercises I do myself. I hope you will try some of them… drawing is a blast!!! Here are some past “Assignments”:
I’m experimenting with acrylics.
I haven’t used them for years, but I need to figure them out.
I swiped some of the “firewood” that Steve cut into pieces yesterday.
Natalie and Regina Spektor Pandora Radio joined me.
This baby has been a year in the making (well, it sat in my computer for about 10 months of that year… um…). Anyway!!! I have listed it on etsy for Preorder (to arrive early December, just in time for Christmas)! I’m including two transfers and free U.S. shipping if you order by November 15th… If you have a little girl in your life, or there’s an adult in your life who WANTS to be more creative but is scared to start, this might be a nice gift. ($15 each.)
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This is my month for losing things. This time it was my entire mailing list.
No, it wasn’t backed up.
(If you would like to be on my mailing list, I’m starting all over. I don’t send out a lot, but had planned on a BIG BLAST for the coloring book!! Anyway, e-mail me at email@example.com… e-mail, snail or both!)
(Photo: Early Morning Moon)
This is one of those posts where I spill my guts and might regret it later, but I am feeling that I want to share with you all anyway, so here goes! But let me say from the outset that I’m not blaming my situation on any place or anyone… it is most definitely due to choices I’ve made throughout my adult life, and I accept responsibility for those choices…
I am an expert at not having money. At least, that has been the case the past seven years since we moved to a small town in central Colorado with almost no economy, and where the cost of living (housing) was comparatively low but other things (food, gas, heat, etc.) more than made up for it. And, though we’ve struggled the entire seven years, this past year has by far been the “worst”, due to a sharp decline in my husband’s work.
So, this financial crisis hasn’t hit me as hard as some of you, because I’ve already been through the shock of suddenly not having all of my financial ducks in a row. Take heart! It’s really not so bad! It can even be kind of fun!
Most of us have had the experience of the power going out for an evening or a day. At first it’s uncomfortable and scary… how will I do my computer work? Cook the meal? Take my bath? Then, suddenly, there’s a shift. The candles come out. The games come out. The blankets come out. We have pb&j for dinner. Our normal life has been interrupted but (surprise!) it’s not so bad…
To continue the metaphor, even if the power is out for much longer, we as humans will adapt. No problem! The rules will just change a bit.
I try remember how blessed and rich I really am. I read once (and my facts here might not be totally straight) that if a family brings home $30,000 a year, they are still among the top 1% of wealthiest people IN ALL OF HISTORY. Isn’t that amazing?
There is stress in not having enough money. For sure. But I’m not sure that my stress is any greater than people I know who have a lot of money… as far as I can tell, they worry about their money as much or more than I do!
Like anyone, I’m kind of hoping that someday my ship will come in, and there will be lots of money on it. In the meantime, I’m living on a beautiful, lush, abundant, island that is my life, full of riches: humor, laughter, pancakes, children, cats, art, friends and money when I need it, just in the nick of time usually… and I am so grateful* for it.
(*Except when I’m not grateful, but those are “crazy” moments.)
For years now I’ve had trouble with Saturdays. I wake up okay. Breakfast is usually leisurely and great. But around 11:00 am I crash emotionally. I think it’s partly the pancakes and partly my Saturday expectations.
Clean the house!
Do the laundry!
Iron the transfers!
Clean up the yard!
Paint the commission!
Finish every painting on my table!
Spend time with Wes!
Finish the coloring book!
Go to the moon!
* * *
So this Saturday, we did. (Go to the moon.) Sort of:
The Sand Dunes National Park, just 1.5 hours away…
(click to enlarge this one!)
It was the best Saturday ever. Highly recommended.
Okay, all better! Sleep does wonders.
I’m in production mode for Weems Artfest, a show I’ve done the past few years in Albuquerque, NM… I juried in with my “girls” so that’s what I need to show up with… it’s fun to work on them again, and am going to try to incorporate some of my recent photo transfer experiments into some of the paintings.
NEWSFLASH: The “All Creatures Great and Small” class at Carol Parks Studio has been rescheduled for March 13-15, 2009…
And, I am SO inspired today by the work of Tilleke Schwarz.
I’m soooooo tired today… unfocused, exhausted… did I say tired? This is the result of two nights of lost sleep… two nights ago because of this…
… and last night because I had one of my “manic” nights. Does anyone else have these?
I lie awake most of the night, ideas swirling, hopping out of bed about 10 times an hour to pet the cat, write down an idea, go to the bathroom… pretty soon it’s nearly 4:00am and I’m so wired I REALLY can’t sleep. I finally doze off (by this time I’m on the couch, having abandoned the bedroom so Steve can sleep) for about ten or fifteen seconds when the alarm rings for Wes…
It was one of these nights three years ago that my “Girls” were born. And last night (maybe, possibly, hopefully) a book was conceived!
But I do need a nap.